Tomorrow many of our American readers will be celebrating Independence Day. Chances are food will be involved. Here are a few tips to remember to avoid any introducing any uninvited bugs.
- Store cold food until just before serving, or if a buffet setting is required set the serving dishes in ice. Coolers, children’s wading pools, and rubbermaid totes are all easy to fill and will hold a number of dishes. Be creative, you may even be able to work it into your decor.
- Use crockpots or roasting ovens to keep food hot. Bacteria loves to grow between 40°F and 140°F, use thermometers to be sure food is being held outside of this range.
- Discard food held within the “danger zone” temperatures after two hours. Food harboring an infectious level of bacteria may look, smell, and taste fine. Shelf stable products such as chips and cookies are exempt from this guideline.
- Be sure each dish has its own serving utensil so no one is tempted to use their personal cutlery.
- If you choose to marinate meat for grilling, portion out some for a final basting prior to its contact with any raw meat. Discard any marinade used for raw meat immediately.
- Additionally, any dishes used to transport or handle raw meat should be properly disinfected. The platter used to carry meat to the grill should not be the one used for serving.
- Keep an eye on children near the food. As hard as we try to keep them clean, kids are often unaware of hygenic practices. Great Aunt Bettina will surely not appreciate an introduction to e. coli.
Following these guidelines will help ensure no one remembers your Fourth of July celebration under the headline “The Great Potato Salad Incident of ’07”
Have a happy 4th!